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Old 01-30-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
Cloth4us
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Discipline Help

DD is going to be 3 in March. She is good, but as of late she has not been listening. I know this is typical for this age, testing limits, etc. My issue is that she doesn't care about any consequences. If I say I'll take a toy away and she can't play with it, she hands it to me or asks if she can put it in the trash, the other day I said the consequence was no muffin, she asked if she could still have her vitamin. Today I said if she didn't eat lunch then she had to go straight to her nap- she is now soundly sleeping. She will sit in time out as long as I leave her. I was really frustrated today b/c my MIL watched DD for the morning, when I went to pick her up DD broke my MIL's headband (not a big deal, but I don't want her to think it's OK). I told her to say sorry, she just stared at my MIL and didn't say anything, I told her to sit down for 2 min, then asked her what she did, no response. I had her sit for another minute, then told her to say sorry again, no response. I told her we had to leave, so she put on her shoes and waited for me at the door. At the car, she said, "Mommy, do you feel better now?" ARRRRR She doesn't care, but I'm getting really frustrated. Please, any suggestions?

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Old 01-30-2009, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: Discipline Help

I love your dd. And I do have to agree with her to a point. Do you feel better?

Punishment is often designed so that as parents, we feel like we did something. It is to make us feel better. It's a form of retribution. The child made us mad or displeased us, so we are going to take something away and make them hurt, too. We want them to have one of two reactions - stop pressing the button or guilt for upsetting us.

The problem is, the punishment doesn't address the real problem. If the problem right now is not listening, does putting her on a chair make her listen better? Was the toy the issue? If so, it makes a lot of sense to sit her on a chair to listen to you or throw the toy away so she can hear better.

She needs ideas that make sense. What will help her to listen to you? Focus on the solutions, not the problem, if that makes sense. I end up using one of two tactics for the toddler years:
1. Touch, Talk, Listen - I get down or pick the child up or just touch them in some way to "snap" them into listening mode....say what I need to in as few words as possible...and ask them to repeat it back. I want them not only hearing my words, but listening and thinking about it. When they have to form the words themselves they process the information quicker.
When my now9yo was about 3, I timed his response when I would simply tell him something. It was anywhere between 10 and 20 seconds. I would watch as he listened, continued for another moment, and then made the connection in his head. They really are still new creatures at that age, still working on language skills.

2. Say It, Do It. For little-littles, or ones still working on understanding that I mean exactly what I say, I say it once, then do it with them the second time. There's no option not to comply. "It's time to put on shoes!" as the child wanders off. Tickle, giggle, sit, with a "It's time to put on shoes!" as they're going on the feet.

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My thoughts on apologies. I find 'sorry' to be a meaningless word unless we teach children how to be sorry. Your dd broke the headband, but sorry wouldn't have made it better. There are many, many options that she could do with your guidance - seeing it it could be repaired, picking out a new one with you for G-ma, doing something kind to heal g-ma's hurt...
There are three parts to an apology, but 3yos won't get them without a lot of guidance and being walked through the steps for a few years at least. They need to acknowledge the wrong, attempt to fix it, and prevent it in the future. At such a tender age, the last falls on the parent/caregiver, but the other two can and should be a part of routine apologies.






I will say, mama, that it does get easier to discipline as you go along and they get through the more maddening stages.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:45 PM   #3
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Re: Discipline Help

Wow, LilyGrace, I don't have a 3 y/o yet, but this is some FANTASTIC advice!!!
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:17 PM   #4
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Re: Discipline Help

LilyGrace- Thank you, Thank you!!! I know that DD is only 2 and I think DH and I are trying to deal with her like she's 10 b/c she "seems" to understand so much. I am good about getting right on her level to talk, talk simply, and follow through (I don't do 20 warnings), but I keep forgetting the part that she is only 2. I have a hard time "picking my battles." I don't want her to think she can do what ever she wants, but I don't want every thing she does to be an issue and her testing limits. I think I need to come up with a few concrete, hard rules and then let other things slide and remember that she can't understand abstract things. Thank you.
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Old 01-30-2009, 07:14 PM   #5
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Re: Discipline Help

yes! awesome advice lilygrace!
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Old 01-31-2009, 09:37 AM   #6
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Re: Discipline Help

ITA - that was fantastic advice. DS is almost 2 and also seems to not care about any consequences...he does seem so smart, and I think we "forget" that he can't understand everything as well as we think he can...lol
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